Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde vowed to ensure a quota for the Maratha community amid ongoing protests. He criticised Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray and appealed to the Maratha community not to resort to drastic measures.
Maharashtra is facing a socio-political crisis as various communities protest for reservation rights, threatening to tear apart the social fabric. Maratha activist Manoj Jarange-Patil is set to resume his hunger strike, demanding benefits for Marathas in the OBC category, and has also joined forces with the Dhangar community, who are agitating for inclusion in the Scheduled Tribes category. The government has not yet made a decision on the demands, leading to increased tensions and protests. This issue is expected to impact the upcoming elections in Maharashtra.
Hunger strikes, agitations and foot marches are not new for the Maratha activist, who has staged 35 protests since 2011. He became a familiar face in central Maharashtra after a morcha at the divisional commissioner’s office in 2014. In 2021, he held a sit-in protest at Sasht Pimpalgaon in Jalna, and later a six-day hunger strike. Before that, he had protested in Gorigandhari village for financial assistance to the families of community members who died in agitations in 2016-17